Coolup trainer Hayden Reeves claimed a special first victory in the $20,000 Wellington and Reeves Albany Cup (2690m) with Thomson Bay on Saturday night.
The smart four-year-old gelding joined Reeves’ stable about four months ago and had won two races leading into Saturday night’s feature race.
Thomson Bay, who was on the fourth line of betting, jumped well from the inside of the back row to sit outside three back on the pegs.
With 400m left to travel, Thomson Bay raced to a clear lead and surged clear in the straight to win by 7.3m and deliver Reeves his first Albany Pacing Cup.
The winning trainer grew up watching his father win in the same race and said it was a memorable night for his stable.
“I grew up watching my father compete in Albany Cups driving Northcliffe Trunkey, Dusky Tara and Sir Thomas, so it was pretty special to be able get one on the board for myself,” he said.
“It’s my first time winning the Albany Cup, as well as the first time having a running in the race.
“Winning any race is great, but being a cup race makes it even more special.
“We have nothing planned at this stage, we will probably keep him on the country circuit and hopefully keep his confidence up.”
Reeves is a former Denmark local who now trains out of Coolup and said he didn’t plan to run Thomson Bay in the race initially.
“It wasn’t our first preference but unfortunately the race we had him set for didn’t go ahead,” he said.
“I was initially disappointed he got a start in the cup as I thought it would be too much for him so early on in his career.
“It’s hard to be confident going into a race like the Albany Cup with a horse who has only had four race starts prior.
“When the draw came out I thought he would sit three back, so that was no surprise, but I was just anxious to know whether he would stay the distance.”
Reeves notched a double on the night after taking out the first event with Lucinda Jamar driven by Trent Wheeler.
Trainer Barry Howlett and Chris Voak teamed up for a winning double also with Major Freeway and Deep Blue.
Other winners on the night were Triple Blue (race two), Summer Moon (race three) and Soho Cash (race seven).